I thought I would grace you with an update to how things are progressing here in my life…
I won’t be the first person in history to point this out, but did you ever consider exactly how time-consuming it is to raise a little human-being in an adequate manner? Perhaps you have produced one of these tiny humans yourself, and if so, you’ll probably know where I am going with this.
I have many friends whom will openly admit that, bluntly, but earnestly put, are too selfish to have children. And despite having a child of my own, I understand this selfish outlook.
I think I had a “one-up” so to speak, on most people of my generation when it comes to the desire to procreate. As I’ve mentioned previously in my blog, I was told at 18 that having children would be a real struggle, if not impossible for me.
So perhaps this being told that I simply couldn’t do something, brought out the rebellious side of me that doesn’t like being told what to do. I’ve always wanted to have children, and was determined in my heart that it would happen one day (whether it be naturally, scientifically or via adoption).
Whilst pregnant with Yunalesca I was given gentle, humorous nudges from other mothers, that childrearing wasn’t something to be taken lightly. That it was going to be hard work, time-consuming, a delightful chore… the “hardest days work you’ll ever do”.
I brushed aside many of these comments as being the mutterings of tired-out experienced mothers, and took on-board only the positive comments about parenthood.
However, now Yunalesca is in the world, I now understand why these mothers were off-loading on to me at the time… the burgeoning mother-to-be.
Once you bring a child in to the world they become the epicentre of every tiny choice you will make from that point onwards. These tiny choices are beyond anything you could even fathom until you’re a parent.
Your freedom is no longer just yours, but a shared freedom. I think it harsh to say that your freedom is quashed completely once you have children, because if you have a supportive family and network of friends, you can still work time to do exactly what you want, but that time just won’t come along as often.
Hangovers are a serious no-no. If you know me even remotely, you’ll probably know that I like the odd drink or 5 (haha! 5?) and I still have the freedom to go out and drink and socialise with my friends, however, again, this is a pre-arranged, organised affair (no nipping for a quick pint on a whim!).
Even when we do chose to drink, it is lodged quite firmly in (perhaps, the back of) our minds, that although we can appreciate this free time in the evening, our little chicken-pie will be with us again come morning, needing our undivided attention.
However, parenthood can conversely be a rather selfish affair. Let me take this opportunity to express how rewarding bringing-up your own flesh-and-blood is though! I don’t want to bring down anyone who is planning on parenthood (or otherwise!) and is reading this.
Yunalesca, although time consuming, is an absolute sparkle on this dreary, dull planet. Her unwitting enthusiasm for the day is the kind of emotion that we adults have beaten out of us over time, due to misfortune, bills and weight-gain. She is oblivious to the fraught and fearful factors of existence. Perhaps if her dummy has done astray, her teething gums are causing her pain or her tummy is pre-emptively rumbling before I’ve made her dinner, she might feel something remotely like sadness, but she has little to no concept of sadness, pain or disappointment.
I have the honour, as a mother, of viewing life from her very specific, innocent perspective, and it is an absolute gift.
Yunalesca delights in walking around our humble and tiny yard, touching each and every flower she sees. She talks with them, about what I sadly have no idea. Yunalesca will do this in a cyclical manner, starting at the Gazanias, moving on to the huge colourful Dahlias, chatting with my home-grown lettuce, perhaps visiting the Catmint, the soft Phlox, stroking the various shades of Lobelia I’ve planted… until she finds herself back at the Gazanias again, utterly as pleased to find them as the first time she laid-eyes upon them.
Everything is new and amazing to a small child, and this astounding fresh perspective on the world is something you’ll never have yourself again once you reach adulthood, perhaps having rushed experiencing everything you dreamed of once you became self-aware as a teenager.
Yet, having a child you get just a small glimpse of this glorious lack of self-awareness. It is unadulterated beauty. It is pure innocence. It is “joie de vivre” on the purest level, and should be cherished by all of those whom are lucky enough to witness it, even vicariously.
Yunalesca simply adores books. People often comment on how bright she is, how amazing it is that she can busy herself with a pile of books for hours upon-end. And I agree wholeheartedly (she is my daughter, of course!) that she is sparky. She’s fiery, and has a personality entirely of her own, a personality that is part hereditary, part environmental, and part just naturalistically her own.
It is mind-boggling and life-affirming to watch Yunalesca develop in to a being in her own right on a daily-basis.
As much as I loved my childless freedom before Yunalesca came-along, my life would have been down-right pointless without being given the chance to relive (to some degree) the bliss of childhood via my daughter.
The weekend just-passed I spent in the glorious-greenery of Derbyshire… right up in the singing-hills, amongst the sheep, cows and … donkeys. The lady I was staying with made a comment about my make-up, on how much lighter and natural it is these days. She was right, I have taken to unveiling my blemishes and facial misfortunes of late, and that is partly to do with my daughter. However, this make-up revelation prompted an interesting conversation about self-awareness.
As a child, and right up until my late teens, I was blissfully (important word) unaware of my “self”. I had a vague idea that perhaps I wasn’t the prettiest girl in the school, people pointed out that my red hair wasn’t desirable to them. Even that perhaps my breasts were not big enough, or that my taste in music was “uncool”, yet, as hard as this is for me to describe, all I can say is at that time I was, again, blissfully unaware of my “self”.
It wasn’t until I reached college that I started to actually realise why some women were attractive, and some labelled as being otherwise. I heard more adult conversation. I heard about thighs, bottoms, breasts, girls being “fit” and beautiful… and slowly, over time, I was cursed with self-awareness. It was at that point I took to make-up, covering-up my apparently “unacceptable” body, and most importantly, worrying
about what people thought about the decisions I made. I was no longer “free” to wonder through life trying whatever I liked, trying to
achieve anything I decided to, because I had become so aware of my faults that I was afraid to reveal them through my failures.
Yet, here I am today, a mother of an innocent, and it makes me realise what a wonderful job my mum did of helping me retain my lack of self-awareness until my later teen years. It has made me determined to assure that my daughter is free from the restraints of adulthood for as long as sanely possible.
So what if she doesn’t kiss a boy (or girl) until she’s 16 (like myself). So what if she’s uncool and wants to spend her school-life studying (isn’t that
what education is all about?!). I don’t care if she turns out like me, because she is part of me. I may have my (all-too-noticeable-to-myself) faults, but if Yunalesca can harbour that innocent joy of life, that ability to feel the freedom to do whatever she feels she wants to do without fearing being chatised by her peers, then I can only see that is a worthy thing.